Apr 7, 2006

Don't Kill the Cute Ones

Pop-quiz; which one is cuter? Which one suffers more at the hands of man? Which one do you give a damn about?
Let's face it, there's a world of hypocrisy surrounding this whole seal-hunting business. Agreed, it's horrid and barbaric and unneccessary and should be banned. But I can't help wondering why there isn't a hundredth part of the outrage over the much crueler practises of modern factory-farming.

Did you know that pigs are the most intelligent mammals outside of the primates? If you have the stomach for it here's a video clip of where your morning bacon comes from. Real hell-realm stuff. You can also check out this piece by Mark Morford on the seal-hunt double-standard. If you're not familiar with his work, he's one of the cleverest and wittiest columnists out there. A modern Swift.

Apr 5, 2006

Technical Difficulties

You may have noticed I haven't posted in several days. There's a good excuse beyond simple laziness this time - our internet connection was down. We have a strange mix of technologies here and this time it shut us down.

We are off the grid - our only electronic link to the outside world is via a satellite dish on the roof of the cabin. This is a log cabin built in the 1930's by a Swedish settler. A little history - this area of Canada (NW Ontario) was the last area open for home-steading, which continued well into the 20th century long after all the good land further west was settled. (Or stolen to put it more accurately) It's all bog and bedrock here is why.

Look at the workmanship on the corners; check out these dove-tails. This was done by a gentleman named Ragnor Skogman who was still around when I first moved up here in the early 80's. I don't know exactly where he is now, but if he took a human rebirth he'd be about twenty now and I hope he's having lots of fun.

Now check out the tool he made those dove-tails with. That's it in the second photo, hanging in a place of honour on the side of the cabin. That's right, Ragnor hewed the logs with a broad-axe.

The cabin was built to government specs. You had to clear one acre and built a twenty by twenty building to get clear title. There isn't an inch extra. The acre is now a mowed field. I doubt it was ever very productive. We only have about an inch of topsoil.

I should also note that the cabin was built right on the ground. In the early eighties Kema Ananda, founder of the Arrow River Community Center (now Forest Hermitage) renovated the building and put it on cement blocks. These tend to float about a bit when the ground heaves in the spring.

Not a problem really until we fast forward to the 21st century and put a satellite dish on the roof. (Powered by solar) This is aimed at a geo-synchronous satellite 35,000 km up. A small shift this end is a wild swing on the other end. The repair guy said it had shifted between and eighth and a quarter of an inch. If I wasn't getting stupid in my old age I'd do the math, but I bet at the high end that translates into tens of miles.

Anyway, moral of the story - if you don't want troubles like this pick a century and stick with it. Given my druthers, I think I'd take the fifteenth.